The head of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, applauded Venezuela’s socialist regime for “sharing [its] staged approach” towards the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, omitting the fact the country is responsible for one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
Tedros, the first non-medical doctor running the public health agency, made the remarks on Twitter, where he thanked the leadership of various countries around the world for cooperating with the W.H.O. as part of their response to the outbreak.
“My thanks to Carlos Alvarado Gonzalez, Venezuelan Health Minister, for sharing Venezuela’s staged approach for fighting #COVID19 [the Chinese coronavirus]: before and after cases, comprehensive measures to identify and control these, and educating and informing the public,” he wrote.
My thanks to Carlos Alvarado Gonzalez, 🇻 Health Minister, for sharing #Venezuela's staged approach for fighting #COVID19: before and after cases, comprehensive measures to identify and control these, and educating and informing the public.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 7, 2020
Since the outbreak this year, Adhanom has transformed from a relatively unknown figure to a source of major international criticism, severely damaging the W.H.O.’s reputation as a result and causing the Trump administration to pull funding from the organization.
A former Marxist official in the Ethiopian government, the 55-year-old has repeatedly sided with communist China on its handling of the crisis, attempting to deflect scrutiny away from Beijing regarding its responsibility in covering up the pandemic in its early stages.
Following the initial outbreak of the virus, Chinese officials arrested doctors for sharing tips on protecting oneself from infectious diseases. One of these, Dr. Li Wenliang, mysteriously died, allegedly after contracting the coronavirus, following his detention. As it began to spread, China also pressured countries against introducing travel bans on Chinese citizens, a measure that would have likely significantly slowed its spread. Even now, Beijing will not allow the W.H.O. to inspect the city of Wuhan where the outbreak began.
The state of Venezuela’s “universal” healthcare system is one of the driving factors behind the country’s humanitarian crisis. Many hospitals have chronic shortages of medicine, staff, and medical equipment, meaning thousands of patients are going without necessary treatment. In 2017, the country’s leading national newspaper, El Nacional, described the situation in Venezuelan hospitals as a “health Holocaust.”
The only possible reason for congratulating the Venezuelan Health Ministry could be the allegedly low number of coronavirus cases. According to official data, there have only been 381 cases and ten deaths as a result of the pandemic, an astonishingly low number given the size of the country’s population, barely functioning healthcare system, and vulnerability of its poverty-stricken people.
There remain serious doubts about the reliability of such figures, given the Maduro regime’s spread of lies and disinformation on an almost daily basis, as well as the claims of other socialist nations such as North Korea, who says it has recorded no cases whatsoever.